View full screen - View 1 of Lot 531. A RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE 1796 AND LATER, NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS [ 寶璣罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示,年份1796及以後,編號60].
531

Breguet

A RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE 1796 AND LATER, NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS [ 寶璣罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示,年份1796及以後,編號60]

Breguet

Breguet

A RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE 1796 AND LATER, NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS [ 寶璣罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示,年份1796及以後,編號60]

A RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE 1796 AND LATER, NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS [ 寶璣罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示,年份1796及以後,編號60]

Breguet


A RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING LEVER WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE

1796 AND LATER, NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS

[ 寶璣罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示,年份1796及以後,編號60]


Movement: lever escapement, helical spring with terminal curves and regulator, later compensation balance, double parachute suspension, two going barrels wound by a large platinum weight, repeating on a block mounted to the inside case back, double signed to the rim Breguet no. 60, faite par Breguet pr. Cn W Johnston

Dial: later silver engine-turned dial replaced after 1905punched B60 to the reverse, satin finished chapter ring with black Roman numerals, similarly finished outer ring for minutes, radially engine turned sector for power reserve, subsidiary seconds with aperture for day, aperture and sector for moon age and phases, the aperture's frame decorated with scrolling clouds, all hands blued steel, signed and numbered Breguet No. 60

Case: gold, refinished engine turned back and band, case back centred with a polished vacant circular cartouche  

diameter 55mm


Accompanied by a Breguet certificate giving the date in the French Revolutionary calendar of 15 Nivose an 4 (15 January 1796), the certificate dated 18 February 2020. The Breguet certificate notes that the dial was replaced outside the Breguet workshops after 1905. 


To view Shipping Calculator, please click here

Movement not running at time of cataloguing. Repeating is operational. Dial and case in bright and clean refreshed condition.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome). Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species. Please be advised that wristbands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Cn. W. Johnston
Edward Hornby, London
Sotheby's London, The Edward Hornby Collection, 1 December 1978, lot 80
E. Mannheimer, purchased from the above auction
George Daniels, The Art of Breguet, Sotheby's, 1975, p. 156, figs. 100a-b

Breguet did not invent the perpetuelle but he certainly did perfect it.” - George Daniels, The Art of Breguet, 1975, p. 63.


The emergence of the self-winding watch in the 1770s provided a perfect opportunity for Breguet to exploit a new horological discovery to promote and further his fledgling business. Breguet’s genius as a watchmaker and skill as a businessman meant that he quickly understood the potential of this new invention and seized the opportunity to develop his own version of the self-winding watch which he called the perpetuelle. Before 1787 there are no records of the watches made by Breguet, however, it is clear that perpetuelles were among the earliest watches he produced. Breguet No. 2 10/82 is an especially early perpetuelle which is believed to have been owned by Marie Antoinette; its fractional number indicates a date of completion in October 1782. Breguet himself noted that the Duc D’Orléans was in possession of a perpetuelle in 1780, however, Daniels’ own research suggested that to be unlikely. The earliest example examined by Daniels for his book, The Art of Breguet, was no. 8 10/83 which is illustrated op. cit. p. 139, figs. 67a-c.


Early self-winding watches were criticised for their inability to stay efficiently wound in normal use and were often seen as requiring considerable and prolonged motion by the wearer in order to charge enough power to the watch’s mainspring. Breguet’s solution was in part achieved by incorporating two mainsprings, these were wound together by a heavy platinum weight pivoted at the edge of the movement. His banking springs, which were placed at each end of the pendulum-form weight’s arc of motion, had particularly flexible ends which helped to maximise the weight’s motion. George Daniels’ examination of Breguet’s perpetuelle system revealed that:


"about a mile of gentle walking will fully wind the watch and this is borne out in practice…The buffer springs…for the weight…have thin flexible ends to help the oscillations and with their aid a brisk walk of less than half a mile will also fully wind the mainsprings” George Daniels, The Art of Breguet, p. 344.

It was to the perpetuelles that Breguet first introduced his parachute shock protection device which placed the balance staff between two jewelled bearings which were set to the ends of fine springs. This system helped to prevent shock to the staff caused by the motion of the perpetuelle’s weight buffeting off its springs.  


As noted within the accompanying Breguet certificate, the original dial of this watch was enamel and this was later replaced by the current silver, engine-turned dial. Such replacements were not uncommon, especially where enamel dials had become cracked or damaged. According to the Breguet records, the present dial was replaced outside the Breguet workshops, after 1905. At the time of the watch’s sale at Sotheby’s in 1978, the watch was contained within a red morocco box supplied by the retailer Desoutter. It is very possible that it was Desoutter who arranged for the replacement of the dial and refurbishment of the watch case, probably between 1905 and 1920. It is also possible that the indications for day of the week and moon phase were added at the same time, as these are unrecorded on the Breguet certificate.